The Importance of Training and Development

In recent weeks we have devoted a number of articles to individual development, and how this can improve work place opportunities, as well as providing a competitive edge. More recently we explored underdeveloped skills and knowledge that individuals may have in positions of influence. It is on this basis that we are furthering explore training and development.

In simple terms, investment in training and development can improve an individual’s productivity, as well as making them more effective in their job. This in turn will result in a direct contribution to the organisations bottom line. It should be noted that although an individual may, for example, hold a degree which has helped them get their first position, this is not the end of the training and development needed throughout their working life.

During different stages of any career additional training is required, as well as various developmental experiences. As this is the case, why then are individuals and organisations reluctant to invest in training and development activities, when the outcome is a more capable person who can affect change within an organisation?

Conversely, organisations will inevitably have some form of policy document which states that employees are able to undertake training and development activities, and be support in these endeavours in respect of fees, day release and work cover etc…, thus making the organisation committed to, as well as, investing in training and development activities.

However, what is the reality of this, and how difficult is it for an individual to actually access the support of their organisation? Whilst many organisations will invest in training and development activities/opportunities to support employees, and individuals are able to access organisational support, both will give a multitude of reasons why they are not able, at this time, to invest in training and development opportunities, these can include:

  • Budgetary restrictions
  • Cost
  • Time away from work
  • Pressures of work
  • Pressure of family
  • Not enough time

These reasons are endemic of the issues that face organisations and individuals who wish to grow, develop and improve. However, the fundamental issue is that whilst, in theory, we plan to commit to professional and/or organisational training and development, we often will not take an holistic view of this investment, and the benefits it will bring, especially as investing in an individual is not seen as the same as investing in equipment or machinery due to the perceived lack of financial return.

An investment in something tangible such as equipment or machinery can easily be quantified, an item can be then linked directly to a budget outlay and then depreciated over multiple years, making the investment easier to monitor and evaluate. However, an investment in training and development cannot be seen in the same way. Training and development activities are a cost for that year (or multiple years if studying a degree), and as such cannot be depreciated. It is on this basis, that from an accounting point of view, it is more effective, and easier, to invest in equipment or machinery than an employee’s further training and development. There is also a fear that an employee will leave the company, and as such, the investment will be lost.

Whist this may seem a calculated point of view, are we not all capable of this type of thinking? How many of us will invest in items that we can use repeatedly over many years, rather than investing in something we cannot quantify? Are these actions symptomatic of our inability to look beyond traditional financial gains/benefits based upon tangibility? Is this holding back organisations, and in turn, not allowing individuals to be more capable within their role? To this end, do we not owe it to ourselves to be more adamant about our training and development needs?

On that note, in the coming months, ET&C will provide briefings in which we showcase our training services, specifically those courses that link directly to professional qualifications and recognition. These programmes are aimed at individuals and organisations who wish to invest in their future, whilst reducing the impact on the business, not only in respect of time, (as our programmes are designed to be undertaken in conjunction with your work), but also financially, as we offer competitive pricing and corporate discounts.